group. Therefore, the obvious conclusion is that the devised treatment i.e. encouraging cooperative learning in the second language classroom has helped the participants in the cooperative group to perform better than the competitive group in which the learners relied on competition. Here it could be concluded that in case the learners are exposed to cooperative learning strategies and activities, they can learn the speech acts more appropriately, and therefore, could promote their second language learning development. The findings of the study also proved that cooperative learning can increase recognition of speech acts of apology and greeting. Therefore, cooperative learning can be considered successful in helping the learners improve their speech act knowledge in the second language.
Based on the literature on cooperative learning and its applications (Basta, 2011; Cohen, 2007; Cohen & Perrault, 1979; Ellis, 1991; Kessler, 1992; Nelson, Gallagher, & Coleman, 1993; Prata, et al, 2012; Slavin, 1995; Tsai, 1998), employing cooperative learning as a combination of classroom techniques could promote second language development in general and second language speech act knowledge, in particular.
5.3 Pedagogical Implications
The present study demonstrated that cooperative learning can influence the EFL learners’ speech act development. EFL learners need to know native like vocabularies, grammatical points, and preferences, dictions, speech acts, functions, and the like for a native-like performance. Therefore, according to the results of the present study, some implications for teaching and learning speech acts through employing cooperative learning can be suggested.
Cooperative learning energized by exchanging strategies and encouraging one another through the presence of peer help among learners could be considered a successful learning theory. In case cooperative learning is employed and encouraged by second language teachers to make the learners more aware of what they are dealing with, it can have fruitful results. The assumption is that participation in a cooperative oriented treatment facilitates learning (Vaughan, 2002), and learners must pay attention to principles of cooperative learning to improve their current state of pragmatic language knowledge. This could be done through a kind of cognitive comparison which has been seen as one of the crucial processes in language acquisition (Ochs & Schieffelin, 2011).
Jeong, Lin, and Lee (2009), within the framework of SLA pay attention to the role cooperative learning plays in L2 development.
English teachers and learners could employ cooperative learning to solve the problems ever emerging and impeding one’s learning. To solve the learning problems meaningfully, in variety of cases, the learners are required to develop the sense of cooperation (Jeong, et al, 2009), and forget about competition. This way the classroom interactions could be enriched and would help subsequent L2 development of the learners. Such an environment can pave the way for the emergence of cooperation and necessarily gives little room to competition.
Materials developers in the ELT domain also could employ the findings of the present study and those of the similar ones to present tasks in which learners’ awareness toward learning is enhanced. Such tasks may help the learners move towards cooperative learning.
5.4 Suggestions for Further Research
The findings of the present study have some limitations as mentioned in chapter I, and further research is needed for investigations:
1. Future studies might consider examining the residual effects of cooperative learning activities to explore whether and how long-term these effects actually could be. A semi-longitudinal study of the concept of cooperative learning will reveal if this method energizes “development of speech acts in the learners’ mentality or not.
2. In addition, the present study employed a comparative perspective towards cooperative and competitive learning focusing on just two categories of second language speech acts namely, greetings and apology and their development. Future studies may be needed to replicate the findings with other speech act categories in the process of developing various language skills or components, etc…
3. Further research is recommended to explore the role of cooperative learning, instructed noticing, attention, and awareness in developing speech acts, pragmatic competence, vocabulary development, or any other skill and component of the second language and their relationship together or the probable effect they leave on learner autonomy, self regulatory factors of learning, and learner motivation.
To sum up, a replication of the present study is needed to investigate various impacts of cooperative method of learning and teaching English on the learners’ second language development. Variety of language skills/ sub skills and complements could be studied via cooperative learning/teaching. If the results of this study are supported by further research, then it can safely be argued that cooperative learning method is of great use and importance in the process of learning correct speech acts by EFL learners in the Iranian context. The central aim of the present thesis was to bring cooperative learning awareness to the EFL classroom. The researcher hopes that the results of the present study could shed more lights into this area, and teachers would hopefully take what has been presented here and apply it to their own situations in order to improve learning ability of their students.
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